The main objective of public administration is to foster government functionality by advancing management and government policies. Alternatively, public administration integrates aspects of management of public programs. It focuses on government policy organization and the behavior of public officers. Pioneer academics postulated and advocated for four basic public administration concepts which included cutting the link between politics and administration of public institutions; analyzing albeit comparatively political and private sector organizations; improving efficiency in public sector organizations by engaging in business like activities; and improving service delivery in public sector by engaging in best management practices and by using meritocracy in assessment of public sectors. This reflection paper will summarize the course content bringing into perspective the students perception of public policy from the readings, discussion boards, and the classroom experience. The paper will identify and explain relevant conceptual learning point from the course. The concepts will be described and explained. Finally, the identified concept will be applied in the field of health. The paper will absolutely demonstrate the ownership of ideas learnt in the course.
Brief summary of the course
As students with interest in being professionals in public sector we were called upon to improve the need to better our knowledge and skills to guarantee our career development as the course was designed to complement the students’ needs. Students were challenged to identify unique challenges that dog public sector and come up with proactive and amicable solutions to these pertinent challenges. In satisfaction of the course requirements we covered aspects of Public Administration both theoretically and in application; information management and technology in the public sector; Public Sector Ethics and Administrative law; Public Sector Leadership; Management of emergency in the public sector; Human Resource Management in the Public Sector; Public Finance; Budgeting in the Public Sector; Statistical Analysis in the Public Sector; Public Policy and how it impacts program formulation and Implementation; Public Policy evaluation and program evaluation; Planning in diversified public environment; and an integrative capstone that last for one week.
In the course on Public Administration Theory and Application we examined the role public administration plays (not profit driven organizations) in a democratic society. We undertook to examine the cultural and intellectual changes that have since taken place in public administration, the theories/concepts/ models/people who steer the public sector and the technique that are employed in public policy implementation. The course apportioned some emphasis on public policy development and various government departments that are mandated to implement them.
A course on information and technology management in public sector enabled the students to be combative to challenges that involve handling projects that make use of hardware, software, and telecommunication equipment; warehousing of data and their mining system; development of system and how they are implemented. The course enabled the students to be technologically savvy concerning management of information and be able to transform the public sector with the information attained. This helps in upholding best practices in the public sector.
In administrative law and public ethics we were introduced to legal concepts that relate to administrative law and the processes of administration. An introduction was made into ethics where were got to know how ethics can be integrated into public administrative agencies. We learnt about the role ethics play in moral decision making in government. The course enabled us to develop a deeper understanding of how administrative agencies are instituted, how they get to exercise they statutory mandate, and how they make laws both formally and informally. We got to know the contents of Administrative Procedure Act and other constitutional and legal provisions that these government agencies wield. We also extensively learnt about intergovernmental relations and other constraints that adversely affect administrative policies in this course.
Identification and explanation of relevant conceptual learning point
Stone (2000) posits that America’s political interest is driven by self interest, community interest, racial, and gender issues. People who have been elected into political posts should take their rightful position as policy makers and ensure that the government and the society are run smoothly and fairly. It is pertinent that the politicians know that their core duties are formulating policies driven by what they would want done once they are elected into political offices. In order for the politicians to retain their electoral seats, they have to be answerable to the electorate. The electorate varies depending on their community base and their vested interest. The basis of ones perception of ones needs and how the community need is interpreted leads to a paradox. Attempts have been made by politicians in independent America to correct historical injustices to foster gender equality and curtail racial discrimination.
Polis Model advocates for inclusion of cultural communities in decision making processes that impact their lives. This seems to have been occasioned by redefinition of citizenship and refining of peoples civil rights through affirmative actions. Stone attributes difficulty in implementation of this model to difficulty in determining who belongs to which community. Elements of competition and passion have been injected into the process of actualizing these reforms due to involvement of different people with common interests. A lot of difficulties have been encountered in defining American democracy as either civil or uncivil. Stone posits that an efficient administrator should maximize governmental objectives by making use of the available resources. Enormous task however lies in determining resources that are available and how good use of them can be made. Efficiency entails allocation of societal resources to drive competition and production. Success in implementation of a policy is normally reduced by ambiguity of that policy. Nevertheless, ambiguity can make an issue more negotiable. Ambiguity is therefore a glue of politics. Where there is ambiguity, there are limited chances of liberty-security trade offs. Community policy ensures that members of that particular community take active role in decision making process. This limits chances of liberty-equality trade offs. When problems like natural disaster are brought under control human freedom becomes expanded.
Market model is often used to examine policy problem. Analysts have to examine policy problems before this policy model is fronted. Possible solutions should be envisaged by evaluation of the alternatives and available options. After the evaluation process, an implementation process should be considered. Political language according to Stone is loaded with ‘who are our supporters and enemies’, ‘who are for or against us’, ‘who is on our side or their side’. These compound subjective and objective interests. Subjective interests are systematically determined. Decisions are made depending on political affiliations.
Policy Models and health sector
These models have encouraged competition between private health care providers and the public institutions. Competition has also been characterized between public hospitals themselves. The competition has led to better service delivery in both private and public health institutions to the advantage of the health services consumers. The model is very important as it obliges the federal government and the local government to seek the opinion of the citizens before any policy that touches on health care provision is legislated.
Stone, Debora. 2000. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.